Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies vs. Vampires

It’s been a while since I last wrote about Horror’s two battling genres in one post. If I were to add werewolves, then it would be a regular party. For today’s Monday Mayhem though, I’m going to concentrate on zombies vs. vampires. What makes one dominant during a season while another takes a vacation?

Asbury Park Zombie Walk 2010 (File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)
Asbury Park Zombie Walk 2010 (File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

It wasn’t too long ago that vampires stole the scene. Remember? They were everywhere. They were in movies, books, TV, magazines, songs, etc., and teens romanticized the genre, writers couldn’t meet demand. Twilight became a rage. Thirteen year-old girls wanted Edward to be their husband. Vampires were hot.

Then, as quickly as it’d started, it all changed.


Nowadays, zombies are the hottest ticket in town. Unlike previous generations of zombie lovers, we’ve become more sophisticated. We love our Zombie Runs where once, twice or as many times as we can handle, we go after competitors in an all-you-can-eat buffet of sprinting through a course for charity. In some respect, we join the troops to simply have fun while playing the part of zombie or victim.

It doesn’t end there. The most popular show on TV is The Walking Dead, about a group of survivors who try to elude walkers (zombies) as a way to find peace in a world consumed by a virus. So far, peace has escaped them. Perhaps one day they will find what they’re looking for. The show has spawned whole websites dedicated to the plot, cast and walkers.

The popularity contest between vampires and zombies is a long one. But, I have a theory. It has to do with the economy and it has to do with people’s perception of the world. This is what I think.

When times are good and folks feel secure with the economy, their neighborhood and their life, vampires rule the airwaves. When things don’t look so good, the economy is in crash and burn mode, and people are generally evil toward one another, zombies rule. Don’t take this as science, although there may have been a scientific study done here and there to prove it. I’m thinking out loud leaning with heavy generalizations.

Good times = vampires.
Bad times = zombies.

This is why I think zombies are currently popular. Vampires are gentlemen. They have a certain sophistication people equate to as being rich. I mean Dracula, the most famous vampire of them all, lives in a castle. How rich is that? While on the opposite end of the spectrum is the lowly zombie, working hard with a horde trying to make a meal out of anyone it comes across.

Silly theory, isn’t it? But it makes sense, right? Twilight and a number of other vampire franchises were at their peak in popularity when the economy was doing well or on a rebound. Now that things aren’t so great, zombies have taken over the top spot.

Maybe I’m too far off base with this one. What do you think?


What do you think makes a genre popular? Do you think the economy has anything to do with it?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

33 thoughts on “Zombies vs. Vampires

  1. hello jack flacco its dennis the vizsla dog hay dada sez the buk he is wurking on rite now literally has a seen ware it is a vampire versus a buntch of zombeez!!! so i gess it must be both gud times and bad times just like in that faymus buk by charles darwin kalld the origin of two sitties or wotever it wuz!!! ok bye

  2. Ah, there was a film class offered my last year in college (I didn’t get to take it…not enough time) that dealt with the appeal of horror films, and where they studied this kind of thing. It seemed pretty cool to me (still does, tbh), but then I like to know why people like what they like in stories.

  3. Vampires on Jack Flacco’s blog! What a great Monday. You know there have been murmurings lately that witchcraft is in the ascendency in media circles (books, films, television.) Haven’t seen it myself yet, but it’s well known that science fiction tends to mirror social concerns, so it’s not implausible to think of paranormal genres waxing and waning with public opinion.

    I think I made a note of saying the popularity of zombies could be a reflection of a general social malaise at the moment and the potential for mob rule or some kind of public backlash in the face of business and political corruption.

    Vampires, on the other hand, tend to epitomise the individual and from the mid-eighties we’ve had a social doctrine of selfish individualism fed to us in concert with booming economic trends prior to the big financial bubbles bursting.

    So, yeah, zombies follow a real or perceived collapse in social values, vampires follow a real or perceived rise in individual prosperity.

    (And for the record, all those Twilight and Vampire Diaries knuckleheads were never really vampires, were they? Not proper vampires like . . . say, Toten Herzen. . . .)

    1. There are people who think that Morticia Addams, Lily Munster & Elvira, Mistress of the Dark are females. They’re….. something, but, not vampires.

  4. The archetypes in horror really do reflect the fears of the reader. I believe that. I don’t like to think zombies are more popular then vampire at one point due to some sort of science. It can be proven in some sense but I think it’s a lot of educated guessing… my problem though is I’m a little biased since I do write a vampire vs. zombie blog.. 🙂

      1. Sure.. I only half believe the connection myself.. I do think that monster horror in general reflects the horrors we face everyday.

  5. That’s actually a really interesting theory! I’ve never thought about it that way, but it makes sense…Vampires, better able to “blend” in, would definitely accumulate more wealth (and appear more desirable) than a pure instinct-driven zombie.

    1. I’m getting a story idea ” Frankenstein’s Monster – Trying to Blend In “. Too much like Herman Munster, I guess…..

      ” Frankenstein’s Monster : Private Eye “, a la the Mickey Spillane detectives.
      It was worth a shot….. 🙂

  6. While I do love my shows about sexy teen vamps texting each other about their love dramas with mortals and other “supes,” two words changed the game for me, personally: The Strain. Guillermo Del Toro made vampires scary again, and I sing to the heavens, “Hallelujah!” Another great post that put a giggle into my Monday morning, Jack!

  7. I think vampires took a hit by becoming more for kids/teens thanks to Twilight and its brethren. Zombies remain for all ages, but predominantly adults. There’s really no easy way to ‘tween’ a zombie because it’s a rotting corpse. Vampires at least look and act human. Here’s my question: When will Mummies get a chance to shine again?

    1. Ah, mummies. I think they appeal to some people because they have truly EXOTIC origins ( Not just Egyptian. The Incans, Chimu, Chinese, Japanese, & some North American native tribes mummified their dead ) that should be explored further in cinema.

      1. I seem to remember John Hannah’s character, at the end of ” Tomb of the Dragon Emperor ” ( Based loosely on the legend of Shih Huang Di ) remarking that he’d go to someplace like Peru. He was sure there were no mummies there when Peru & Chile have them all OVER the place. & the Tarim Basin has a small group of mummies displaying EUROPEAN features. Why somebody hasn’t done more with those mummies, I’ve no idea.

      2. I guess it’ll have to remain the stuff of documentaries, then, until they can do ” Curse of the Chinchorro Mummies ( I’ve seen articles about Chinchorro mummies. Interesting subject ) ” & taking a REAL risk.

      3. Yeah, but they’d get so MANY things WRONG. If they could just do a few historical, culturally accurate….. Oh. Yeah. Syfy. I forgot. Forget I mentioned. 🙂

      4. All too true. Many of the Egyptian mummy films talk about reincarnation, for Pete’s sake. If you’re going to be reincarnated, why build a tomb or have yourself preserved at all ( Mini – rant ) ? Accuracy gets trumped by sensationalism.

  8. Actually that makes sense for the western world. Quite brilliant actually. I wonder when it will make it to a University course on societal signposts!

  9. I have read some vampire ” history “. In some Central European lands, vampires were not different from zombies. The Chinese also had a version called ” Chang – shi “.
    They could be out in sunlight. They smelled. They had a decayed, putrefied / desiccated look.. I think when they were relatively fresh, 🙂 they had the ability to change into bats & / or wolves. Maybe the lore for each creature has a common root in wondering about the fate of this mortal coil & what happens when we shrug it off.

    1. When I was a kid, back in the 80s, we had a book series from Time-Life called “The Enchanted World”. I remember reading in one of the volumes, called “Night Creatures” that in very early European myths (I think East European) vampires and werewolves were also considered to be the same creature. Sometimes during the dark ages, or a little before them, they became two different creatures and the mythology changed.

      1. They were really interchangeable back then. & a lot of things happened in forests, which were considered dark mysterious places where devious things happened, including sorcery & witchcraft, everybody’s 2 favories. 🙂

      2. I suppose it didn’t help that some religions had rites which needed to be performed at night or by running water, or other things like that. And that’s not even getting into druidism, or red magic or even all that stuff that got crammed into “paganism” and resurfaced with Aradia. 😉

      3. Running water….. I always thought there was a superstition that vampires couldn’t cross running water. Or maybe I’m thinking of some other entity. In Chinese culture, I seem to remember that ghosts couldn’t cross through gates or screens that had holes in them because they had to stop to count them, & maybe the same went for ” chang shi’s ” / other undead.

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